The Boeing [NYSE: BA]
777-300ER airplane completed the longest engine-out demonstration flight ever in support of Extended Operations (ETOPS) certification, when it flew more than five hours with one of its two engines shut down.
During the approximately 13-hour Seattle to Taipei, Taiwan test flight, the airplane's crew shut off one of the two General Electric GE90-115B engines and flew the plane for 330 minutes on the other engine.
"The flight went flawlessly. We were very pleased with the way the aircraft and the GE90-115B engine performed," said Frank Santoni, Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) chief pilot.
ETOPS is a conservative, evolutionary program that allows airlines to fly twin-engine jetliners on routes that at some point take those planes more than 60 minutes flying time from the nearest airport.
The 777-300ER is the newest Boeing 777. Two are currently undergoing 1,500 hours of flight testing, and both have met or exceeded expectations as the program approaches its ninth month of testing. So far, crews have evaluated takeoff, landing, handling characteristics, fuel consumption, and now ETOPS.
There will be additional 330-minute ETOPS tests in various locations in the months ahead. In total, the airplanes will record approximately 220 hours of ETOPS flying. That will involve additional engine shutdowns for 330-minutes, various system checks and simulated malfunctions to ensure the systems are working in the long-range environment.
ETOPS certification by U.S. and European regulatory authorities is slated for early next year. The first 777-300ER will be delivered in April 2004 to International Lease Finance Corp.'s customer, Air France.
"Everything we've done so far is putting us in position for the ETOPS certification series of flights and final approval by the FAA," said Lars Andersen, program manager for the 777-300ER.
For more information on ETOPS and the Boeing 777-300ER 330-minute ETOPS test, go here.